Well, we just were incredibly joyful when we recently found a Snoot-Flute!
It was very dirty and the cardboard was a wreck, having enormous moist blotches. I cleaned it a bit with a soft eraser, tried with diluted Hydrogen peroxide, but was not able to get the brown blotches to a lighter color. So, I just passed it a minute over steam, then carefully ironed it. Too bad that this card is so damaged, the design by Nelson Ronsheim is so great...
1.- The Cardboard
The design is tremendous, very vintage, with its oblique lines separating colored areas. Many of the typographics were hand drawn, including the adorable big logo. Here is a scan of my board. But I didn't resist providing also a 'digitally restored' version (yes yes, some work again:), to show how the paper should have looked when still new:
The first thing I noticed gave me an 'official' answer to the question of the date. I thought the Snoot-Flute was dating of the early 1960s, and a reader of this blog then posted a comment asserting « that is a page from the 1963 Kenner catalog. It's not in the '62 or '64 catalogs so it looks like it only lasted a year.». It would need some investigation to check if the Snoot-Flute ad really appeared in the 1963 catalog then, and above all, in other vintages. But... One thing is now sure and ascertained, the Snoot-Flute dates of 1959!!
The 'Pats. Pend.' should never have been registered, since I never found any traces of them and the date is not so far to have disappeared from the patent office.
Indeed, this part of the cardboard was totally unknown to me. The only picture I had was the catalog advertisement which showed the nose flute clipped on the paper, masking this essential info. Then, Mr. Michael Smith (Nelson Ronsheim's grandson) had sent me the only picture he had, and there again, the flute was clipped on the board (there).
By the way, please note the differences (colors, text, oblique lines) between the cardboard design on the catalog ad and the one that was actually printed:
Another nice surprise was to discover the user manual, announced by the mention 'Directions underneath', but also masked by the flute. I was surprised to read « To play different notes, breathe harder or softer » which is only really true associated with « and change the shape of your lips. » I think it is the very first time I read this advice in a nose flute instructions sheet.
Also hidden under the Snoot-Flute, a nice little drawing:
2.- The Nose Flute
On that topic also — the instrument by itself – a great mystery was still laying: on the catalog ad and on Michael Smith's picture, as well as on the pictures of the advertisement I got the Snoot-Flute from, the flute is displayed reversed side, showing its back only. How was the front ? The only design that was helpful for imagination was the one on the cardboard with the kid playing: rather flat front on its top part...
The second thing that surprised me is that, I was expecting a sturdy and thick plastic nose flute, and I got the lightest instrument. Among the plastic nose flutes, it is the lightest I know, even lighter that the Humanatone (3g) that is much smaller. The Snoot-Flute weight 2.5 grams!!
In fact, this nose flute is really clever. The plastic is very thin… because the Snoot-Flute was produced by thermoforming! Not injected plastic. As you know, the thermoforming uses a hot shape upon which is placed a sheet of thin plastic, while vacuum is produced in order to stick down the sheet and form it according to the shape. It is the only nose flute I know made this way. This explain why the front is so flat. The (red) bottom was thermoformed and at the same time the (yellow) flat top was superposed and glued by fusion on its sides. I suppose that it is at this very moment that this softened (yellow) part got a bit bulged (Some air was probably blown into the nose intake, to avoid the yellow sheet to stick the red one).
There are still some embossed points visible on the red part: the points where ejection pushrods did their work. There are 3 pairs of them (top, middle, bottom). If you take a look, they are also visible on the Michael Smith's picture, as well as the bizarre kind-of-boomerang shape. But this weird shape is not at the same place on both flutes, and it should be a mark made from but after ejection:
Oh! The sound? Well the sound quality is not so bad and quite powerful, just a bit sqwacking in the sharps:
Don't you think it looks much like a...
Now, let just make a fake picture, just for the pleasure of looking at a mint Snoot-Flute: